Fire Protection and Safety
In this anniversary year, we prepare for the next 25 years.
NFPA Journal®, July/August 2008
This year, the Fire Protection Research Foundation celebrates its 25th year supporting the research needs of the fire protection community. Our mission is “to plan, manage, and communicate research in support of the NFPA mission.”
While we celebrate our past service to NFPA and the projects we have undertaken to build the technical foundation for its codes and standards, we recognize that the next 25 years will bring many challenges to fire safety in the built environment. Our changing demographics as a society, the new materials and technologies available to us, and the increasing focus on sustaining our natural resources—each will affect fire safety in many ways.
Some topics are readily apparent. How will the aging of our society affect fire safety in our homes? How will new nano-materials contribute to fire growth and development? Will new advanced sensor technology change firefighting tactics? How will declining water resources change fire suppression strategies?
As the Foundation prepares for the future, we ask you to participate in our work by lending us your expertise. We have a few questions for you and we invite you to email us and tell us your views from your perspective on these and other key issues that will affect all of us in the fire-safety field. We welcome your input through Foundation@nfpa.org on the following two questions:
Within the general context of changing demographics and social attitudes, new materials and technologies, and sustainable development, what do you see as the three major challenges facing your sector of our community?
What impact do you foresee these changes having?
We will continue this dialogue at our 25th anniversary symposium, to be held on November 17 and 18 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. We have invited widely recognized experts from outside our field to challenge us to prepare for the changes that will affect all aspects of fire safety, from firefighting to the fire protection design of buildings to fire protection systems and materials.
Keynote speakers for the symposium include Kevin McCarthy, Ph.D., senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation, who will present “Future Fire Protection: The Social and Demographic Context;” Philip Anton, Ph.D., director of Acquisition and Technology Policy at the RAND Corporation, who will present “Tomorrow’s Materials and Technologies;” Craig Beyler, Ph.D., technical director of Hughes Associates, who will present “Retrospective: Dr. Howard Emmons’ Vision of 21st-Century Fire Safety;” and Shere Abbot, director of the Center for Science and Practice of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Austin, who will discuss “Tomorrow’s Sustainability Challenges and Fire Safety.”
Leaders in our community will respond with their plans and concerns about the future. Please visit www.NFPA.org/Foundation to register to join us for this event.
A summary of your email responses, as well as the dialogue at the symposium, will be posted on our website and sent to all participants in both forms of dialogue.
In our mission to plan, manage, and communicate research projects in support of the NFPA mission, the Foundation will use this input to help guide our research focus for the future.
Kathleen H. Almand, P.E., FSFPE, is the executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation.